Tourism 3.0 holds many advantages over conventional tourism models. One of them is its capacity to leverage the potential of all businesses integrating marketing 3.0 strategies into their business model to boost tourism flows towards destinations 3.0. The latest example of this is the trend in the video game industry – embraced by all its major players – to develop games related to the struggle against climate change, in which players are entitled to address many environmental issues in a virtual world resembling the real one.
Furthermore, the video game industry firms intend to use these environmental challenge games as a strategy to encourage players to take action in the real world, thus following their video game challenge with a real world challenge.
For instance, Strange Loop Games already has environmental issues at the heart of its game Eco. Players work to build a civilization and deal with its impacts on the environment. If they cut down too many trees, for example, they might kill off an animal species. “For us, it’s less about telling the player about being green or avoiding climate change than letting them have that experience, letting them face that challenge themselves,” said CEO John Krajewski. “And then they can bring that to the real world.”
Other major industry firms such as WildWorks, the company that makes the popular kids’ game Animal Jam, plans to help children learn about the importance of forests in the game, and will plant a tree for every new Animal Jam player. Ubisoft also plans to use “green themes” in its games, while Microsoft plans to make 825,000 carbon-neutral Xbox consoles, meaning that the way they are made will not increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.
The next step towards fighting climate change would be to organize real world environmental challenges inviting all engaged game players to live their video game challenge as a real world challenge – this would also be a life-changing educational experience. Tourism destinations could take this kind of challenge as an opportunity to organize “Environmental voluntourism events”, where participants would be organized in teams and together address some environmental challenge in the shape of a competition game such as the video games they would already be engaged in.
Beyond the positive environmental impact in the destination, this would work as a massive marketing campaign for the video game firm and the destination, also welcoming other like-minded sponsors to financially support the event and thus make it more affordable for the players to participate. Needless to say, as in any competition of this kind, there should be many winners and prizes to reward participants for their contribution. The White Paper “Marketing destinations through storytelling” explains some approaches which can harness this excellent opportunity brought by the video game industry.